Kia Ora! (pronounced Key-ora)
This is the national greeting here in New Zealand, basically meaning hello, and said in such a gracious manner that we can’t help but like everyone we meet. We’re kicking off a truly epic four week adventure here, hoping to mix in the best that New Zealand has to offer in nature, sightseeing, cycling, and friendship. We’re off to a great start.
We flew in on a 13-hour nonstop from SFO (boy are our arms tired…) , with a connecting flight to our current home in Wellington. We met up with our friends Terry and Agnes along the way, and met out host Jos shortly after landing in Wellington. Jos has taken on the truly heroic job of planning this entire trip. He has arranged for all of the accommodations, figured out the best cycling routes, planned most of the activities, and is acting as our host for this entire expedition. We felt right at home with him the instant we met.
Flying from SFO we lost an entire day. We left on the evening of the 3rd and arrived on the morning of the 5th, meaning that March 4th never existed. The good news though is that we’ll get to re-live March 30th on the way home, landing before we took off.
Jos led us on a walking tour of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. There is an absolutely lovely park about 2 blocks from his house. After walking through there we eventually ended up downtown, wandered around the harbor, visited the WW1 / Gallipoli museum, and then returned to Jos’s house where he and his wife made dinner and spent the night sharing stories. It was a surprisingly productive and entertaining first day.
I’ve (Tom) taken a very different approach to this trip than I normally do. Typically I manage and obsess over each little detail. This time I’ve just trusted in the fates, and on Jos’s good judgement. Having a local do the planning is such a a big win. Amy and I are clearly not experts on New Zealand culture or geography so we’re just going with the flow. This is liberating and a little intimidating at the same time, but it feels like the right way to go.
Our plan is to stay here in Wellington for another day and a half, then take a ferry to the South island. We’ll rent a car and make our way down the East coast of the South island. After reaching the very southern tip of the island, Terry, Jos and I will cycle up the West coast, going through Fjordland and Milford Sound, Queenstown, Fox Glacier, and whatever other scenic wonders we find along the way. Finally, we’ll cross back to the North island where we say goodbye to Jos, then drive with Terry and Agnes back to Auckalnd over the the next few days before finally returning home.
One final note for today: We’ve started a new blog here to capture our various adventures. It’ll evolve over the next days and weeks so pardon the dust as the construction continues.
So please, follow along as we embark on this journey. We read all of the comments and love the feedback we get along the way.